Christine Gregoire casts her line at Westwood Lake on Sunday. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo anglers wonder if any more piranhas are biting

People fishing at Westwood Lake think there could be more piranhas in there

It’s not quite a piranha fishing derby up at Westwood Lake, but fishermen there now know they can expect the unexpected when they feel a tug on their line.

“It’s a beautiful day, I just decided to do some fishing, catch-and-release,” said Christine Gregoire at the lake this past weekend. “But it was pretty intriguing to hear about the tropical piranhas that are in there. If I catch one, I’ll try to rescue it.”

Gregoire was one of more than half a dozen anglers trying their luck at Westwood Lake on Sunday mid-day when the News Bulletin stopped by. Every person the Bulletin approached jokingly replied they were fishing for piranhas, so all had heard about last Tuesday’s surprise catch.

RELATED: Fishermen land piranhas in Nanaimo’s Westwood Lake

David Kingston said he was aiming for trout, but was hoping to reel in a red-bellied piranha. He was fishing at the rock bluffs where the piranha was caught, and had brought a bucket with him just in case.

“I want to keep it in the water, I want to keep it alive,” he said. “If one comes along, I’m going to try to save it and I’m going to put it in an aquarium.”

Kingston said he sometimes fishes from a rowboat, but when he fishes from shore, it’s from the rock bluffs. He catches rainbow trout and the odd bass, he said.

“Not all the time, but on good days, you might get a 22-inch, and I’ve heard there’s bigger ones in here,” he said. “I caught a two-pound bass years and years ago.”

He wasn’t too worried about any piranhas being in the lake, suggesting “they’re going to croak” in another month anyway, when the water gets colder, but Gregoire said she has concerns.

“It’s going to interrupt the eco-system, mess with the species that are already in there,” she said.

Gregoire said she has fish tanks at home and so if she caught a piranha, she would keep it alive and figure out what to do with it from there. She guessed that piranhas might aggressively go after a baited hook, but chasing a wild fish tale wasn’t really her reason for spending an afternoon at the lake.

“If I catch a fish, I do, if I don’t, I don’t,” she said. “It’s just all about the tranquility of being out here.”

The red-bellied piranha caught last Tuesday was the second one landed at Westwood Lake this year, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, and is thought to have been an unwanted pet. It was caught using yellow-orange PowerBait on a line and sinker. Anglers who catch introduced species are asked to make a report to the Forest, Land and Natural Resources office or call 1-877-952-7277.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Green leader sees red over NDP Island ‘misinformation’ campaign

Elizabeth May: “We didn’t think that smears and attacks would be sufficient to erode the leads we had”

Island police haul attempted murder fugitive back from France

Sebastien Normandin, 49, charged with attempts to hit former girlfriend with car

Bear sightings spike in the mid-Island

Fruit trees number one food attractant, as bruin reports double

Commercial fisheries off-loading business booming in Port Hardy

Off-loading facilities pack, ice, and load in totes the fish that are caught by commercial fishermen

Four days of mediation fail to break four-month strike in the woods

Steelworkers union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

Open house for Royal Beach tonight

The third open house to gather public input on Royal Beach takes… Continue reading

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Esquimalt chicken pox case inspires Island reminder

Island Health reminds parents to make sure children are up to date with chickenpox vaccine

Comox Valley leapfrogs Campbell River as an Island overdose hotspot

Rate drops in Campbell River, but not for its southern neighbours

Most Read